Bernard Tomic quits all-Aussie affair
BERNARD Tomic retired in the second set of his clash on Saturday morning (AEST) with fellow Australian Alex de Minaur, ending his run at the Atlanta Open.
After a disastrous first-round exit at Wimbledon, Tomic had bounced back to form in America with wins over Frances Tiafoe and Matthew Ebden, but he pulled the pin, citing torso pain, to allow de Minaur an easy passage through to the semi-finals.
De Minaur had claimed the first set 6-2 and was cruising in the second, up 3-0 before his countryman called it quits.
"It's not ideal obviously for him, but I'll take this any day of the week. I got to play some good tennis, and ended up with the win," De Minaur told the ATP website.
"I hope Bernard gets better and recovers, and hopefully he's all good for the next tournament."
The manner of his departure will fuel further questions about Tomic's desire to continue at the top level after he was stripped of his entire pay packet at Wimbledon for not putting in enough effort during a loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga that took less than an hour.
Things looked to be trending upwards for the world No.106 after a come-from-behind win over Tiafoe and a straight-sets victory over Ebden.
By toppling Tiafoe in the opening round in Atlanta, Tomic claimed his first top-50 scalp of the year as he came from behind to win 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4) in one hour and 48 minutes.
He fired 20 aces before telling reporters he had not made any drastic changes to his game against the world No.41 in their first-ever encounter.
"That's how I play; I always try to do something different," he said.
Tomic's 6-4 7-6 (7-3) win over Ebden in round two improved his record for the year to seven wins and 12 losses.
Third-seeded de Minaur booked a quarter-final meeting with Tomic by dispatching American Bradley Klahn 6-4 6-4 in only 67 minutes as the Aussie dropped only two points on his first serve without facing a break point in the match.
De Minaur is seeking a second title after hoisting his first trophy in January in Sydney, after losing there in the 2018 final.
In the semi-finals, the 20-year-old will play American Reilly Opelka, who dispatched Briton Daniel Evans 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 in the quarter-finals.
"The Demon, he's an unbelievable player. A good buddy of mine, we've actually been grabbing dinner together the past few nights," Opelka said.
"He's probably the fastest guy on tour right now. He's an unbelievable competitor and he actually serves really well for his size.
"You wouldn't really expect it, but he's got a really good serve. He beat me in a great match in Sydney. Obviously he really plays well on the hard courts, so it's going to be a great test for me and I hope I can play my best, and it will be a really fun match."